Iggy Pop’s ‘The Passenger’ (dancing in the rain at 5am at a bike rally) – I was utterly entranced by this tune, despite no obvious hook, or even melody! It somehow captures a transient mood, which is something I’ve been trying (and failing) to re-create ever since. There could have been external influences at work with that one though… ;) ‘Bless The Weather’ by John Martyn (late at night, in front of a crackling fire in a deep discovery of love) – this is such a beautiful, simple and very personal song. John Martyn is an appallingly under-rated, or perhaps just un-recognised singer/songwriter. Metallica at Milton Keynes Bowl when the lights went out and the chopper sound at the start of “One” kicked in…how to UTTELRLY captivate 60,000 people!! Being introduced to the REAL ZZ Top – I’d only known their slightly cheesy chart tracks, but BOY can they play diiiirrrttyyy ;)
It really is different every time. Jed and I write a lot of songs together and that will usually be a case of Jed coming up with a riff and me writing a song around it, although sometimes Jed will say “I want this to be about ‘blah’” or have a few lines already. I also write a fair amount on my own and those songs tend to be written in a fit of inspiration that brings everything together at once. The less frequent but very rewarding route, is when we come up with a tune just jamming as a band. We like to have a loose jam at the start of every practice/rehearsal and it’s usually pretty inspiring. On occasion, a conversation will create a spark – “Who Is Me?” was inspired by our drummer Paul having a rant about “identity theft” over a post-party breakfast one morning!
Well that is different every time I write a song, but I guess the common denominator is wanting to get ‘inside’ the listener. Some songs make my heart soar, some fill my belly, others take complete control of my feet and the very occasional one actually raises my pulse without any movement. I’d like a good mix of these on the next album!
Aah…now if I knew that, it’d be at No. 1!!! It also depends on your definition of “great”…I don’t think the ingredients for a chart hit are necessarily the same as those for a song that can leave a lasting impression or really mean something to someone.
I think it would have to be “Nailed” at the moment, although I’m proud of the whole band on that one – we were rehearsing out in the studio one night and I’d gone into the house to mash tea. I was walking back down the drive clutching 5 mugs of red-hot liquid, but had to stand transfixed (with the scalding stuff dribbling down my wrists) listening to this beautiful sound rising from the roof. After about 2 minutes, I walked back in and wrote down most of the words straight away. It was just one of those that songs that came together in a moment of time.
I can’t actually say that I’ve experienced any real problems “as a woman”. Obviously, there are some men that will always patronise women, but then there are women who will patronise all men! Happily, my main experience is of “people” – promoters aren’t going to dismiss a woman who CAN pull a crowd in favour of a man who CAN’T. It’s really a case of proving yourself, whatever your gender I think. I’m also very lucky in my band-mates – they are totally cool and a few “ask Georgie”’s puts most folk straight!
Phew! Two distinct questions there…and I’ll go for the last first. Motivation is possibly one of the most major issues for me, when one snide comment can counteract twenty hearty congratulations after a gig. I’ve found the band’s progression a bit like climbing a mountain – you’re working hard and building up a sweat, but the peak is in site and you’re absolutely buzzing. There’s a great surge of energy when you finally top the rise, but then you realise it’s just a ridge and the peak is actually the same distance again in an uphill climb. I think the key to managing that is having realistic aims in the first place and acknowledging each step as an accomplishment of its own. I remember when we first got to play at “Hawkfest” and it was being held at Donington Park. We were like “HEY!! WOO HOO!!! We’re playing with HAWKWIND!!!” It was a brilliant weekend, but Monday inevitably came around and it was a slight anti-climax to find that life hadn’t altered that much. But then you look at it objectively and think that 3 of us have been fans of Hawkwind for 30-odd years and Dave Brock actually wanted us to play at his festival, which is a pretty cool thing, even if we never played another gig! That’s why we stick with “Havin’ a good time” as our band motto – if we were in this for money or for the pure musical appreciation of others, then we’d be frequently disappointed, but we nearly ALWAYS have a good time ;)So in terms of moving the band forward, we’re just going to keep doing what we do; strive to improve our sound with every new song and play lots of gigs to reach as many people as possible. The great thing about digital promotion is you can do it as and when it suits you, and you also discover LOTS of other music while you’re at it! In fact, I’d say that a lot of our really great experiences as a band have involved the people we’ve met along the way.
Well four of the five of us don’t even have a tv, so we wouldn’t really want to throw ourselves into all the intense visual promotion stuff, but then you’ve got to accept that a certain amount would be necessary. I suppose it would be a company that offered a ‘tiered’ contract, ie. Do this and we’ll give you a budget of that…do THIS and we’ll give you a budget of THAT etc. I’m not convinced that this makes much sense actually, so let’s just go for honesty – on both sides. A label that will get the peace pipe out and hammer things out round a table, rather than assuming they know what’s best and massaging the artist ego until they’re completely pliable, lol.
Sadly, the digital age has limited my options here… R.I.P Diskits of Sutton-in-Ashfield – a great little shop with a blues-based, eclectic mix, who would order you ANYTHING. Hudson’s Music in Chesterfield (Derbyshire) is still hanging on in there though and they are fantastic for stocking cd’s of local, unsigned bands that have produced their own albums/E. Ps.